I am a Midwestern girl, and my husband is a Midwestern boy. We were born in the center of this country. We spent our childhoods and college years living within driving distance of soybeans, corn fields, and giant tractors. When I completed my degree I lit out, promising never to return. But four years in Texas and seven in the Chicago area sent me running back to the town that nurtured me. My husband stayed close to home as he raised his two girls. Our lives collided seventeen years ago at a backyard party, and now after five years of dating and almost twelve married we are about to embark on a new adventure.
After a layoff and temporary employment that left him empty, my husband found his dream job down in the St. Louis area. The boxes are now packed and loaded into the POD. Our cars are filled with random items. Calls have been made. Services have been cut off. Tomorrow we place the cats in their carriers, wave goodbye to our brown house, sign papers, and then head to our new home in a neighboring state.
Before we head south on I55, though, I need to reflect on what this town has given us. We are leaving fabulous friends who listen and laugh and love. Our family members who still reside within the 217 area code are torn. They know this move is a great opportunity for both of us, but their hearts are a little sad with all the change. We understand. Ours are too. We will miss our breakfast place, our butcher, and our Mexican restaurant. Rock’s best golfing buddies will be lost without his inconsistent long game and his sarcastic patter on the course. I will have tears for my yoga friends, kindred spirits who have guided my body and heart and soul.
The past few weeks have been littered with goodbyes: lunches with old friends and family, last golf games, long hugs, heartfelt gifts. We keep saying we’ll be back for visits, but we all know it won’t be the same. Our relationships will evolve, and the ones that are enduring and true will stand strong despite the miles we are apart.
Our hometown has a reputation that isn’t always glowing, but this place is quirky and funky and full of tenacious determination. It will always be our home, even as we settle in a new place. Now is the time to discover how we will adapt to the novel, the strange, the unfamiliar. We can’t wait! And to all we love, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.”